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  • JJ Rorie

Breaking into Product Management


Episode 079

What if there was a roadmap to break into the dynamic field of product management? We've got Rajat Tiwari on the show today, a promising future product manager and current master's student at Johns Hopkins, to guide you through his personal journey. Rajat's humble beginnings dreaming of Silicon Valley led to the creation of a hospitality website showcasing his web development and API knowledge. He offers insights on how finding a unique selling point can be the game-changer in this highly competitive market.


Rajat didn't stop there. Leveraging his software engineering prowess, he navigated the labyrinth of product management, learning from various organizations, courses and the evolving landscape influenced by AI and generative technology. What's exciting is that he shares how people from diverse backgrounds are getting a foot in the door in this thriving industry. Listen as Rajat spills the beans on his effective job hunting strategies, from leveraging LinkedIn and coffee chats to employing a Chrome extension to gain an upper hand.


Rounding off our fascinating conversation, Rajat dives into the importance of preparation for job interviews, not merely job applications, in product management. He also underscores how traditional practices like patience, user empathy, and understanding the customer's needs should be a part of every product manager's repertoire. The future belongs to those combining unique strengths with state-of-the-art technology tools. Tune in for Rajat's insights that promise to be invaluable for anyone contemplating a career in product management.


 

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Episode Transcript:


Intro (the incomparable Sandra Segrest) 00:03

Welcome to Product Voices, a podcast where we share valuable insights and useful resources to help us all be great in product management. Visit the show's website to access the resources discussed on the show, find more information on our fabulous guests, or to submit your product management question to be answered on our special Q&A episodes. That's all at ProductVoices.com, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform. Now here's our host, JJ Rorie, CEO of Great Product Management.


JJ 00:37

Hello and welcome to Product Voices. Today's episode is going to be really cool. Cool for me and hopefully cool for you as well. So, as a lot of you know, I have an advisory and training firm called Great Product Management, so I do a lot of corporate work, work with a lot of product teams all over the world, which I absolutely love. It's really been a wonderful part of my career, Having been in product manager seats product leader seats it's really fun to advise all of those companies. With that said, the other part of my career is that I teach product management courses at Johns Hopkins, and it truly has been one of the highlights of my career. I've done it for a couple of years now and I've learned what it is like to teach young folks in early stages of their career. There's a passion that these folks have that it's so endearing and it frankly soaks my passion for product management again. It's just a really, really wonderful part of my life and my career, and so what we're going to be talking about today is how do folks who are early in their career coming out of university, for example, how do they get into product management? This is something that I do a lot of thinking about In my time in product management over the last 20 years. You really started in marketing or engineering, or you spent several years in some other field or some other function and then somehow found your way into product management. Well, things are changing. So now there are a lot of really really good, smart people who want to get into product management pretty much right from the beginning of their career. I think corporate world needs to catch up a little bit to that, and so we'll do some more work on that.


Today's conversation is with someone who I've loved getting to know over the last couple of years. Rajat Tiwari has been in my classes at Johns Hopkins. He is a brilliant, brilliant aspiring product manager. He's currently getting his master's of science in engineering management at Johns Hopkins. He's done a lot of really good project work and other types of work on product management and he's continuing to learn. He's amazing and he's going to share with us the journey of what it's like to be new in product management and try to navigate that finding that product career from an early stage, which is new to a lot of us. So, Rajat, thank you so so much for being here. I'm so excited to have this conversation with you.


Rajat 03:18

Yeah, thanks a lot, JJ. For me it's kind of a dream come true, because I still remember before coming to Hopkins, I was going to the faculty list and I saw, okay, we have JJ as a professor. I was going through your profile and it was so fascinating and it was one of the reasons why I came to Hopkins because I wanted to study with the best professor in the world that teaches product management. So I saw your profile, I saw the work you do and I made sure, okay, hopkins is the place I want to go. And today, recording the podcast with you means a lot to me. So I'll just briefly introduce myself. Why product management and what was the thought process?


03:55

So I graduated in 2020, back in India, with my degree in computer science and during those four years, there was a lot of experimentation in the tech world. So I still remember as a 19-year-old boy leaving his house, going to a new city to start his computer science engineering journey. I still remember when I was just saying goodbye to my parents and crossing the hostel room, I said to myself one day I'm going to work in Silicon Valley. I don't know how, why, what was the childishness in that particular thought? Because there was a couple of Indian drama series which were coming out which talked about entrepreneurship, technology, silicon Valley, and that was something that was just bricked into my mind. Okay, I want to go to Silicon Valley. Why, how, I don't know. So I think that that that was something in my subconscious mind that I wanted to come to states for my master's, but not sure about what.


04:46

So I started like a very average student at my undergraduate institution, attended class, but I still remember that the class of web development, where they were teaching us how to create website, gave me an idea. Okay, I have learned this. How can I implement the knowledge that I've gotten? So, with that thought, I talked to my faculty. My friends and I started a hospitality company which is called Myle Partner back then. So the idea was simple. My friends used to complain to me okay, we want to go to home, but the birth services are very, very expensive. What can we do? So I thought, okay, I've done, I've learned web development recently. Let me use that knowledge, let me do try to do something with that. So I created a website. It was a hospitality based birth service website and when I started to do it, the first thing I realized okay, I still don't have the ample amount of knowledge to create a website. And that was the first time I knew about API and all seven databases how to use them in person.


05:43

So I got to work with my seniors to create a website and the idea was simple what is going to be unique selling point for us? So there is a fee, called convenience fee, which companies charges, which shows the prices. So I thought I will make that fee zero and that is how I'm going to save costs and I'm going to start this business. But the idea was never to scale it or to be entrepreneur. It was just a skill that I learned and I wanted to implement it and we worked with that particular idea for a couple of years and then we expanded our services to two services and packages as well. And over the two years of entrepreneurship journey I learned a lot about sales, what is marketing? You have to go and talk to stakeholders, what is the problem state when you are trying to solve? Because I vividly remember the moment we went to our government bus operator and we were very optimistic okay, they will allow us to onboard them, because you need different permission to onboard government services on your website. And they said that, okay, first, the condition is you should have a net revenue of more than a million dollars to first onboard, and then you should have at least 10,000 customer and all. And then we thought, okay, okay, this is something we are not sure, ready and back on the mind.


06:59

I was studying computer science but I never realized I was doing product management, talking to people, talking to a student, what can we do for you? So that went for a couple of years and then I got a job from an institution I joined ZS Associates, which is then management consulting from. As a software engineer. I wasn't very sure, to be honest, that software engineering is something I have to do, but because I have studied it for four years, I thought, okay, I have the best bet on this particular field. No-transcript so. But the idea, jj, from the very starting was to solve problems. It can be in any capacity, but I wanted to work with very smart people who are aligned to solve problems, and I was.


07:39

When I was starting my software Engineering journey, I was very fortunate to have good managers, but during the one year I realized this is not. This is something that doesn't come naturally to me. I have to work hard, work a lot, and still I accepted the fact that, okay, I am never going to be in the top 10 percentile of this particular field. And In the meeting, my manager gave me a feedback that you provide good insight in scrum. Why don't you think about product management as well? I said okay, okay, and talking to product manager in the organization, talking to my manager, I realized the product management is something I was doing back in college as well, but I wasn't realizing it. So I thought this is a career. I have a good fundamentals because I understand tech. I had basic knowledge of how business work. Let me upgrade myself now.


08:26

And I just don't want to directly switch to PM Rose, because I just wanted to go all in First to upgrade my skills and fundamentals and then only to make sure, okay, this is something for me. I didn't want it to be like software engineering, that, okay, I'm not good at it, it don't come naturally to me, so let me skip it. I wanted to make sure, okay, I go all in and I want to be one of the best in that particular field. So I was looking for degrees which provide not just management but technical degrees as well and education as well. So I got to know about Hopkins because they have an interesting program when you go to different country for immersion, collaborate with different people and they have great product management ecosystem which is now evolving as well. And the reason to come to Hopkins was because product management ecosystem was growing and getting matured, not like other institution where already there was stagnancy in that particular field. So I thought I can contribute my insight in that particular field.


09:20

So I thought, let me come, let me upgrade my fundamentals. And when I came here, when I started my product management journey I started it from you I was almost sure that, okay, this is something which I want to do, because this is something that comes Intentionally to me. I don't have to think a lot and I enjoy doing it. I don't watch the clock when I'm solving product problems. When I'm reading, okay, apple on this new product, I go to case study automatically. I don't have to think about it. So it has been over a year getting to know about the product management ecosystem at Hopkins, at States, and now I think I'm almost sure not 100% sure about this field, but I think I have the skill set now this can help me to start this year.


JJ 10:05

Yeah, I love it and I love your background. I love the way you tell the story because I think it's important In a couple ways to pull a couple of things out of that. So at your age young, at 19, it's hard to know what you wanted. So every one of us who have been to university gets some degree, and I've known a few people who are like this is what I want to be and I'm going to be this and that is what they are forever. But most of us, we get a degree, we go through a couple of different options and then finally land on something and then we work in it and then we find things we love, not find things we don't love, and so I love that your journey was part of that. I also love that you had a manager who was able to, or someone in the company who was able to, say you know what your talent lends itself to this area. Maybe you could do this. I don't think enough people have that early in their career folks around them who are looking to cultivate them in that way, and so I think that was a really, really important part. So I think it's a learning point for folks who are early in their career, to try to find those people and try to understand that what you're doing from year one of your career isn't necessarily what you're going to do forever. Maybe you'll love it and it is, but look for those people who are able to see your talent in the good and the bad and the ways that you can improve and the ways you can double down on some of your strengths. So I love that part.


11:43

So let me ask you when you got to Hopkins, you got to the States, you got into the program that you were working on. You were taking classes, taking, obviously, a product management class. Like how did you, or how have you, leveraged the coursework with the project work? Because again, for those of you, just a little primer and I think most graduate programs are this way in this type of field but there's curriculum and kind of traditional courses, but there's also a lot of project work. There's work with real companies, a lot of partnerships and that sort of thing. You mentioned the immersion program and so you have had the opportunity to work in a real life situation simulated in some cases, but real life situations in addition to kind of traditional curriculum. So how have you taken that experience and used it to kind of help your career or help the next phase of your career.


Rajat 12:46

Yeah, I think this is very interesting and important question because when we talk about a career, there are a couple of niches that we think we can leverage our skill set as well and consider that. So when I was very sure about product management, I was sure about the fundamentals about it, so it could be customer empathy, talking to customer, creating roadmap. But product management itself is a very vast field and there are different, different roles in different, different segments. So the project work that we did with PEEK and other other organizations first gave me different levels of access to different level of companies and the problem they are trying to solve. So, for example, peek was a fintech startup and I got to understand how fintech works, whether it is something for me or not. Then we worked with that hardware or a physical product which was a pick-a-gram tool. So I think working with different organization on different problem statement tells you what is something you are most passionate about, because you have to find your niche as well, although I have been suggested from a lot of people that in the starting of your career you should not find a niche. But I agree and disagree with them in the forefront that once I know this is my niche or this is something I am super passionate about. I can give my 120% of that.


14:03

So for me the Hopkins curriculum was very flexible in terms of taking multiple product management courses as well. Otherwise the knowledge or the information becomes kind of vague if you are not continuously taking it. So I still remember that I took two of your courses, and continuously. That helped me to make that particular rhythm in the product management ecosystem. That forced me to again read more about product management continuously from day one. So I think First I will say that working with different problems statement and different organizations taught me what is important for me or what is something that I am most passionate about, even in the field of product management and for me it was technical product management. Because, antoninanles, I didn't started working with different organizations seeing how they are using technologies, tech, I wasn't very sure how can I leverage my software engineering skills. I was aware that I can be a good fit in this particular ecosystem, but I wasn't very aware, antoninanles, I started working because when I was talking to my teammates they were projecting something from marketing perspective, sales perspective, but I had that software engineering perspective and when that all the perspective collaborated we were able to solve a problem or provide recommendation. So I think that flexibility to take multiple elective in product management only was the first thing that helped me.


15:20

I think the ecosystem is emerging in engineering management as well. More and more people are now aligning towards product management and the chat we have is revolving around that. It is revolving around this particular organization has launched this particular product. How do you think it is going to impact?


Third, I think the generative AI ecosystem, the chat, jpd and LMS ecosystem has again matured the product management ecosystem because it now pushes you to enhance your productivity but at the same time it also makes it easy to do the mundane task. Everything is again becoming abstract. I think the advancement in technology and Hopkins adapting that technology advancement is again helping us to be more mature in the product management ecosystem. The final thing for me would be collaborating with people from different walks of the life, and I think this is the most exciting thing for me in product management as well, because it is not a conventional path that you take. You go to a college, take product management degree and start a PM job. You can see people from different walks of life taking this particular career as their goal and a new journey. The coffee chat that I have, the consensus that I attain, I think rarely I have seen people who have a career trajectory which leads them to product management.


They were doing something. They got to know about product management.


JJ 16:42

They were super excited for it and they started working on that it talks so much about, or it speaks so much about the importance of learning in different ways and putting yourself out there and all kinds of experiences and all kinds of ways to learn. I think, again, just a really good learning point there for folks out there listening is that there is not one way to learn product management or to learn really any field, but certainly something as complex and well balanced, if you will, as product management. I love that you brought up generative AI as well, because I thought so much about this again, having been in product management 20 years ago even more than that started my career and it was an interesting time in product. At that time, pretty much every organization, software or not, was really working in a waterfall methodology. The agile transformation is what I have seen through my career to this point. It is really nothing compared to what I think the next 20 years of product management will be, mainly because of AI and ML and other things. I think all products in some way will be impacted.


I love that you are starting your career and many others are starting really starting their product career at this point, because I think the new talent coupled with some of the newer technology is going to transform some things. I want to ask you specifically we could talk for two hours about that but I want to ask you specifically about the job search, because I think that is what a lot of people are going through, whether they are in grad school, whether they are in undergrad, whether they are trying to move early in their career to product management. Tell me a little bit about how you have navigated the job hunting process, some things that you have done that didn't work so well, some things that you have done that you think have resonated. How have you approached the job hunting process as you get ready to graduate and move on?


Rajat 19:01

Absolutely, and it brings back a lot of memories, some good and some not so good. So I think, first you have to be so I can provide insight from an international student perspective, because you have some limitations when it comes to job hunting for international students. So I think, first you have to be extremely, extremely confident that this is something you are going to do, because the master's degree, personally for me, is not a place for exploration, but it is something that you know you are passionate about. Now I'm going to utilize my time to build skill around. So some people perceive masters as exploration and stuff, but for my personal stuff, for me, the definition of master was I know I have this skill set. This is something I want to achieve. Now let me take all the resources available in my capacity to help me to make my strength and to strengthen my strength in that particular ecosystem. So I started my job hunting way before I landed to the US, only because I was pretty sure about the electives I have to take. I consulted with my professor, I consulted with my seniors. What could be a good mix of subjects that could help me to inculcate product mindset. I still remember my classes started from August and I started applying from July 2022. So the first thing I did was updated my resume. There was nothing major to add on, but I added a couple of electives that I'm planning to take because they were confirmed, and then I got to know about the organization that hires and their timeline. So, for all the PM experience, fang companies usually start their hiring from September, so if you are starting your master journey from August, you don't have a lot of time to prepare for it, so you have to get your hands on. So the first thing I did was segregated companies based on the area of interest I have and as an aspirational PM, you always want to work with the fang companies because the kind of problem they are solving, the name they have and there was a sense of security for me as well, being an international student with regard to the sponsorship or the switching to different countries as well.


21:14

So these all were the aspects I was thinking even before coming to States and when I landed here, I started applying from day one. So there were a couple of tools that I was starting they were using first. My favorite tool is LinkedIn. So I just started cold applying. I was just applying and going to job pages and applying to the roles, and majority of them resulted in rejection only. So I did that for a couple of two to three months. I was very fortunate to get interview with Google, although I wasn't able to crack it, but it was again a cold application. But within three months I realized, ok, just cold application is not going to work. I was also preparing for my interviews on the back of it, along with my classes and stuff.


But on the first few months I realized, no, linkedin is not enough or I'm not using LinkedIn in the full capacity. So I took some time to sharpen my fundamentals on how to do job hunting as well. So first thing I did, I started connecting with people who are working in PM space within States, because I was getting posts in my feed which were related to Indian ecosystem. So, again, that was not helping me because I wanted a job in States and work in United States. So first thing I did, I connected with people who only have two to three years of experience with product management, because they were more approachable and they were able to understand the pain points and the struggle I'm going through. So I got to know about them, know about their journey how they started. So I started having coffee chats from that particular day and people were very generous there to give me their time. So the first correction I made I started using LinkedIn to the fullest capacity. First thing was connecting to the network which resonates with what you want to do in your career and, for a fresher, I think connecting with people who just have two to three of experience helps, because they empathize more with you and they are very aware of the situation you are going through.


23:17

Then I started keyword searching as well, because, as we all know that most of the job are never posted, you get hired by networking. So that keyword searching. So I used to just search hiring plus the role I'm interested in and the organization I want to work in. So what I used to do, I used to put hiring plus product management and then filter that out on the basis of post, and then I used to filter that out on the basis of cadence. So should I go with the post which is one month old or is it just one week old? Because you have to be early in the application as well, because if you are applying for a role which is already a month late, you are not going to get a call back. So that was the first major shift I think I started doing. I started doing keyword searching and it exactly helped me. So I was able to get the post in which hiring managers or recruiter were posting about the requirement of product management in their team and I was fortunately looking for internship. So the internship opportunity in my experience are much more when it comes to full-time work experience, especially for early careers.


So after that I got to know about different tools like simplify. Simplify is again a tool or a Chrome extension which just fills out your job application. Because, again, filling jobs is such an irritating process and have a request to work day as well, can't you please create one single account for each and every job application? Because every time I apply through work day I have to again create my account for a new employer, so that is again very challenging and frustrating. So I did that because I want to apply for a good number of companies, but I don't want to do it again and again and again on reputation. So I thought there must be a tool for that, but otherwise I can work with my team or friends to make a tool for that. So I saw that simplify already solved it. Simplify is just a simple job application extension in which you just fill your information for once and then it auto fills all the applications, saving your time.


25:20

So after using simplify, I was able to apply to more of the jobs. So in that terms, I was able to use simplify and then reaching out directly to hiring managers by using keyword searching. But again I saw if I'm commenting on any particular post, 10 people are already commenting on that. So how can I stand out on that particular process? So again I got to know about extension called Apolloio, which provides you recruiter emails. So now, just to stand out of the crowd, I used to follow this approach. I used to find job through keyword searching. I used to comment on that particular job, just briefly telling it why I want to work with them and why I'm a fit for that role. And once I was done with it, I used to get their email ID from Apolloio sending them a briefmate.


I never asked for job in the first place, I just told them why I'm passionate about it and what is the unique skill set I have. So I started doing it and I got a couple of interview invites from that particular thing, although I will still say the conversion rate was 20 to 30% for each email I was sending. But it was much better than just doing cold application and even if someone never had any job opportunity or even they have filled our role, they used to answer me that, okay, we don't have any opportunity, but we'll reach out to you if you have. So I used to create an Excel sheet with that okay, how the recruiter applied me and when I will be looking for full time jobs, I will reach out to them and telling okay, we communicate it. So it was a good journey then.


26:52

And then again I realized that there is so much to product management that I can learn more more than just asking for a job. So that was I think it was around November or December my thought process for networking changed and it became more of a mentorship like stuff. So that translated or that changed my journey from just networking to people for job and stuff going to mentorship understanding. Okay, this is something that I bring to the table. I want to learn from you and if it works out, I would love to work with you as well. So now I don't look networking as an ecosystem where just you go talk and ask for a job. I look it in a way how can I get mentorship from this particular person, how can I learn from their vast experiences and how can I give that particular knowledge to my junior assessment, who are coming to Hopkins or elsewhere.


So that was couple of changes that I made and then I realized, okay, I want to talk to a lot of people, because I can't make all of my mistakes, all of mistakes myself, because life is too short for that.


So I have to talk to a lot of people who are in this particular field, why they choose PM, what is something that I'm not doing right or I can be better at. So I got to know about a website which is called adpillistorg. So basically, you get to connect with people who are in the product management ecosystem. You can schedule a coffee chat with them and they are very generous to help you and guide you and sometimes review your resumes and all. So I started doing it and I got to meet with couple of people who are leader in industry and they give their insight.



So if, as of now, after my one year job hunting master's journey, if I have to start it again, I will take a lot of time to first understand who are the people working in this particular industry and what is something they're passionate about and why they choose PM and what is something that I can learn from them, because in the initial months you still have time if you are not very sure about product management. But as the timeline gets decreased it becomes very, very difficult and you get confused as well. You're always in confusion whether I should look for other roles which are more suitable, but have already invested a good amount of time in this particular ecosystem.


29:01

You don't want to win that particular situation after you have done this much of preparation. So if I have to again start my job hunting product management or portionity I will take first couple of months just to make sure product management is for me. You can't be 100% sure, even in life or your career, but if you get a good feel this is something I can do. This is something I'm passionate about. Just take one or two months for that. Once you are pretty sure, I think LinkedIn is the best tool you can have. Now. We have chat, GPT and other element tools which can help us to make emails or customize emails for hiring managers. Now you don't have to manually type each and every time. You can just give them prompts and they write good emails providing the point you want to convey.


So I think I'll start first making sure okay, is product management something for me? I'm 100% or 90% sure about this field and I'll connect two people in this particular industry, listening to their experiences or the transition happened and what were their thought process beyond that transition, and then I'll use LinkedIn, ADI, Pillies or other newsletters as well to start my job hunting. We'll do keyword searching, because the intention is quality over quantity. You don't want to be in a position where you apply for 1000 roles and get only 1% reach out. You can apply to 100 roles and you can have a conversion of 20%, which is much better than applying to 1000. So I think I'll do that again and, on the parallel, I will keep on reading more about product management, how technology can leverage this particular field and I can leverage technology to be a better PMS with like generative values.


And I think curiosity at the end of the day is very, very essential. Do you get goosebumps when you think, okay, why Apple is doing something? What is Meta going to do? Is Amazon thinking in this particular front when they are thinking about grocery business or logistics?


JJ 30:56

I love all of this and it's such great advice. So many practical tips like simplify I had no idea about that. Chrome extension what a great product. And your story about it actually makes me, or is a good example of why I know you're a great product manager. You saw a problem in the market and you're like I think I can solve this, which is the first step in great product managers right. Like, let me understand the problem. I know users have it. I have empathy for it. You yourself had that problem, right, but you knew there was a problem. And then the second thing that makes me know that you're going to be, and are, a great product manager is that you saw that somebody had already solved it, so you didn't beat your head against the wall trying to solve it better. You just said, okay, that's not the problem to solve. And in product management we, you know saying no to things and saying you know what. That's not the right problem to solve for us is probably the most important thing and it's so underrated. So I love that. I love that part of your story.


But just really, really great practical advice for people out there looking for jobs, because there's lots and lots of people looking for jobs and how can you do it a little bit differently. One of the things that I I love the way you took us through your evolution and how you know certain things weren't working so well so you changed along the way, being very intentional about your job search, which is great. And one of the things that I admire a lot about you, Rajat, is that you've taken on, like you said, the sharing of information. You're naturally curious and you learn about business, you learn about companies, you learn about products, but then you also share that out for your network, and I think that's a really important trait. And I think it's not that everybody has time to write a lot or, to you know, create a lot of content and you don't necessarily have to do that, but if you learn something, share it. And to me, that's what makes the product management community great is that you know we're always trying to help each other. You know find ways to be better, and you've embraced that earlier in your product management career than, I think, a lot of folks. And I think your kind of story about giving back and making your networking more about just you know one way communication, I think, is really important there so awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that story.


So I just have one last question for you and I'm just curious to hear your perspective. Like, again I said what I think the next you know, a couple of decades of product management will be in very, you know, very exciting times. But what makes you most excited about product management right now? Like, what is the thing or things that you know, just really you think if you spend the next couple of decades of your career in product management, that it will be so cool and so exciting. What excites you the most?


Rajat 33:41

Yeah, so I have thought a lot about it. So if I were not prepared about this, I would have just used some corporate jargon for some heavy technology terms. But I think for me it is going to be being old school that is going to separate good PMs from great PMs, because with excess of resources, information and technology, I think we are too much dependent on technology for that and you will see people using technology laptop to make notes or to take stuff. But I think if you can inculcate a old school mindset, which is basically having tremendous amount of patience, being very, very okay to fail in this particular age when everyone is just doing things so fast and with so much impact, and third is having user empathy as well, because I think with technology the advancement comes, but sometimes we don't get that human touch or human psyche to that depth. So I think for me, basically I would inculcate or I would give major amount of time being old school, thinking more about user empathy, not in just a way just reading a couple of articles, but going in person to meet them If possible, going not just through the virtual ecosystem but going and meeting them physically as well, being very, very patient, because I think now, with so much technology, you can ship products in a minute. You have LLM tools, you just give them prompt and then you just ship them.


But I think problem solving is something which is the core of product management. It's not creating technology, it's problem solving using technology to create a unique ecosystem around the product. So if I have to sharpen my skills or give or invest most of my time in the product management ecosystem, I will inculcate a habit of being very, very patient, thinking long term, because with technology, one biggest asset you have is that you can get everything within a minute or within months. So I think thinking long term is something that is again very important in that particular front. And I'm very excited and worried about thinking long term as well, because a lot of things have been developed and I'm not sure what else advancement we can have. We do talk about chat, gpt, so my next question is what the hell advancement I can get in the future?


36:02

So I was reading about mixed reality, argumentative reality in different sectors, so that again made me fascinated. But at the core it was again about the customer, empathy, solving a problem, being very, very patient with the experimentation. So I think, if someone will ask me, like you did that, what you are super passionate about or what is something that you would like to inculcate. For me, it is going to be patient. Second, will \be thinking long term but again accelerating in short term as well. Third, going and talking to customer as much as possible, not just thinking about the technology and not just thinking technology as something that is going to revolutionize the world, but thinking as a tool which is going to help you over the skin. So I thought, in the coming months, on the coming years, people who are able to understand what is their unique strength and then leverage those strengths with technology are going to be the great PM of the world.


JJ 37:02

I love that answer so so much and, honestly, it shows a wisdom beyond your years and experience. I absolutely love it, and one of my concerns with AI and ML and all of the technologies and all of the amazing, amazing data that we have and the technologies that we have today is that we're going to lose the intuition that makes great product managers and product teams, and I think it will always be a balance and maybe it won't be. Historically it's been 80% intuition and 20% data and that's probably not the right balance 50-50,. I don't know what the right balance is. It doesn't matter. Maybe it'll be more data than intuition.


37:49

But losing that human side of things, losing that intuition, losing that true customer focus, I think is a risk, right when you have such groundbreaking or world-changing technologies in front of you. So I love, love, love that you're centering yourself on that and I think that's a great piece of advice for folks out there. Learn new technologies, understand how they can help us, understand how they can help our customers. But at the end of the day, it's about solving a customer problem and it's about using our business sense and our intuition. So amazing, amazing answer and absolutely wonderful conversation, Rajat, and I have loved it. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and your story. I think it will help so many people, whether they're in a master's degree program or not. It will help a lot of people understand that your career and beginning your careers in evolution, and I thank you for sharing your learning journey and your stumbles and the things that you found that have worked. So thank you so so very much for your transparency and sharing your story with us.


Rajat 38:56

Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot, JJ. It was a pleasure talking to you.


JJ 39:00

And thank you all for joining us on Product Voices. Hope to see you in the next episode.


Outro 39:05

Thank you for listening to Product Voices hosted by JJ Rorie. To find more information on our guests, resources discussed during the episode, or to submit a question for our Q&A episodes, visit the show's website, productvoices.com, and be sure to subscribe to the podcast on your favorite platform.

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